The City of Kigali has been nominated among 16 finalists for the first edition of the Wellbeing City Award, an award that recognizes cities placing wellbeing at the center of urban design, planning, and policies.
The Wellbeing City Award is the world’s first global competition recognizing city-led action on urban wellbeing.
Speaking to The New Times on Monday, Bruno Rangira, the Advisor to the Mayor of the City of Kigali, the city was nominated for its car-free day initiative.
“In November 2018 there was a call for submission of wellbeing initiatives that cities were implementing. The City of Kigali submitted the Kigali Car Free Day initiative in the category of Public health,” he said.
Currently, Kigali dedicates the first and third Sundays of the month as car free days.
During such days, a number of roads are closed to allow residents to engage in physical exercise from 7am to 10am.
People hit the streets to walk, run or ride bicycles, among other activities.
Mayor welcomes move
Marie-Chantal Rwakazina, the Mayor of the City of Kigali welcomed the nomination.
She referred to the wellbeing of the people in the city as a paramount issue.
“We view the wellbeing of our people as a paramount issue. We believe that our city can’t develop without a healthy people. Therefore, initiatives like Kigali Car Free Day are venues for our people to have a healthy lifestyle.
“As the City Administration we shall continue putting in place policies and conditions that promote the wellbeing of our people”.
Kigali which was nominated in the public health category is the only African city among the last 16. Kigali's nomination was attributed to the bi-monthly car-free day which is organised to give city residents a platform to do physical exercises which always ends with a health check-ups for different health complications.
The awards were developed by NewCities, a global non-profit organisation that aims at shaping a better urban future as well as the most progressive and innovative ideas to drive positive changes in cities through events, research and urban innovation projects.
The organisation works with leaders from business, government, academia, civil society, the media and the arts.
This is the first edition of the competition that was launched in September 2018, according to a statement.
More than 100 cities from 27 countries and six continents were considered for the award. Only 16 cities made it to the final list which has four categories of awards.
One overall 2019 Wellbeing City laureate will be announced April 2019, as well as a winner in each of the four categories.
The four categories include public health, economy and opportunity, community, and sustainable environment.
Kigali appeared in the Public Health category where it will be competing with Gothenburg (Sweden), Los Angeles (USA), and Vancouver (Canada).
For the other categories, Bogotá (Colombia), Milan (Italy), New Haven (USA) and Santa Monica (USA) were nominated for the community category.
Others are Amaravati (India), Chicago (USA), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Pune (India) which were nominated in the economy and opportunity category.
Avià (Spain), Curridabat (Costa Rica), Lisbon (Portugal) and Moonee Valley (in Melbourne metropolitan area) (Australia) were shortlisted in the sustainable environment category.
Among other partners for the awards is Novartis Foundation, a Swiss-based philanthropic organization which works on sustainable impact on the health of low-income communities through a combination of programmatic work, health outcomes research, and its translation into policy to address global health challenges.
The Canadian City of Montréal, Toyota Mobility Foundation, and the US Green Building Council are also partners for the awards.